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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Annual Pilgrimage across the Pennines

It is the time of year to turn my thoughts to next season and in particular leeks and Onions. I spent half a day last week sorting out the lighting and heating in the growing shed, all has been working fine since then so i decided to collect my Pendle leeks from Dave Metcalfe in nelson.I was accompanied on the trip by Harley which meant a halfway stop at Mc Donald's for a happy meal. Daves leek plants are in good order and equally as good as previous years I collected 24 in total and will be growing the best 15 for next years shows the rest will go outside for kitchen use

the plants will now go in to the shed and receive 12 hours daylight using grow lights the timings will be 630 am to 630 pm. this will continue till 17th march when we will have 12 hours natural daylight.they will then be planted in to the bed in the tunnel with background heat till the risk of frost subsides.

I also sowed onion seeds a couple of weeks ago, my quality onions will be mt own saved seed from the 10.5 lb onions I grew in 2011 and managed to get seed from this year.I will also be sowing Toughball onion seed for the 250g class,I usually grow vento but as I was beaten at Harrogate by Toughball I am giving them a try this time, we will see how I get on fingers crossed `  

Also I am thinking of potting up my shallots in a couple of weeks.This is the first year that I have managed to save nearly all of them without them going rotten.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

First Planting for next years shows

I spent a couple of hours yesterday planting Japanese over winter Onion setts, regular readers will know that I do this every year in order to have a set of 3 out of the ground and ripening a month before the spring planted ones.I have won the class and respective trophy for the past 3 years. I have decided to try a different variety this year mainly because the shape looked good on the packet. The variety i have chosen is Troy  from Thompson and Morgan I bought 2 packets and picked the biggest 50, these have now been planted in one of my unheated tunnels and spaced around 6" apart

I also planted out in the garden 50 cloves of Elephant garlic these are purely just to build up stock for future years.
I have harvested next years runner bean seeds which were selected by leaving all the remaining pods which had nice hooked shaped ends on the plants till they turned brown and the seeds dried out,I ended up with around 30 nice uniform sized beans to plant next year
I also harvested some onion seeds which were from the 10.5 lb onions I grew in 2011 and re planted this spring they produced loads of flower heads but not many ended up getting pollinated due to the poor summer and lack of bees I still managed a couple of hundred seeds some of which have been sent to Dan as he is going to have one final go at the 10lb club. I intend to use some of the rest for my large exhibition onions for next year,these will be sown at the end of November and grown through the winter under lights the parent plant had a great shape so hopefully the resulting onions will replicate this. more on this as i get underway
Due to my leeks not producing any grass this year I have ordered 2 punnets of plants from Dave Metcalfe which i will be collecting late November or early December I will now await his call.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Harrogate and Leeds

Its been a while since my last post due to my busy schedule. I exhibited in 3 classes on the NVS. side of the show at Harrogate these were Stump rooted carrots under 250g onions and the 3x2 collection also known as the BBC. short for bullshit bloggers challenge which was won again by Smithyveg if you have read his blog he may have mentioned his victory.I have come to the conclusion that I need to keep some of my better veg back for the challenge instead of showing it at local shows. It was close this year with only 2 1/2 points between us he was harping on about only dropping 3 points on his celery but failed to mention I only dropped 3 points on my stumps.Me and Dan came joint second but Smith decided to give me the third place medal due to my leeks having thrip damage which to be honest was a fair call.I did however manage a 3rd for my 250 g onions which is 1 better than the fourth I got last year in the same class also the second place went to Sherie Plumb so I am not far off the mark.

Dan also got 3rd for onions Smithy only managed a fourth but is claiming it beats our thirds due to it being for a collection.I had a few mishaps along the way firstly I have to own up to locking my keys in my car in the middle of staging this had a knock on effect making me mix up my carrots meaning that I staged the wrong 3 in the stump class I only realised after the show and am sure that I would have got a card but you live and learn.
I did however stage the correct set at Leeds in the West Yorkshire District NVS show and got a second which I was well pleased with.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Local Veg Show

Saturday saw the 105th annual show in my village the entries were down on previous years which mirrored other shows this year. I managed to stage 25 entries, quite a few less than last year I managed   10 firsts 8 seconds and 5 thirds I won the Blue ribbon for best in show with my collection of 4 plus the top tray and another 4 trophies  
Best in show

Top Tray

The competition just to show the quality of exhibits given it is only a small village show

Beans flat Dwarf
collection of four veg
Onions from setts
Broad beans
Top Tray
Blanched leek
Cabbage as grown
Red Cabbage
One flower and one veg
Flat dwarf beans
Onions from setts
Red Cabbage
all in all not bad in a difficult season with limited time on the garden
I am also growing a giant cucumber

Best exhibit in members sectioin

Friday, 10 August 2012

Rotten heart

Things come along to try us from time to time but we just have to get on with it I have grown some of the best Celery ever this year which have now ended up with heart rot I seem to have this problem every year so this year I grew them in the tunnel to reduce the risk of slug damage which can be a factor in causing heart rot but still ended up with it

I have also lost a full row of spuds the leaves went yellow and the tops just died it has just happened with one variety which is Purple Eyed Seedling which I have never grown before the spuds ended up un damaged but a little small but taste nice and look great I am just putting it down to weather and general growing conditions

I have now lifted my Vento onions which had stopped growing and have some good specimens bang on the weight and a few have gone over

Leeks are the best I have grown sized wise with a small amount of damage from thrips even though I have used predators which has kept them clean for the last 2 years again must be the weather


for Harrogate I have some nice onions leeks and blue belle spuds with some Caulis in reserve this should be enough to beat Smiths Radishes but we will have to wait and see

Most of my onions are also lifted and I will be lifting the rest on Monday I have a few nice ones that match each other the ones left to lift had there split skins removed last week in readiness for lifting.

Parsnips are a write off again this year as they have been attacked by carrot fly which is my fault for not covering them with enviromesh I just did not have the time but rest assured I will cover them next year.
oh and if you had not noticed Yorkshire have more olympic medals than Australia.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Belated update

Apologies yet again for not posting but it is all I can do at the moment to keep things ticking over on the plot.I will only be showing in a couple of shows this year due to other commitments,mainly the restaurant.
As some southerners still keep winging on about the rain, we in Yorkshire have just been getting on with things.
On the veg front things are ticking away nicely
Onions are now 15" circumference and a nice shape I've not even had to bring them in to my consevatory

Leeks are also looking good I am pleased because they are mostly from my own grass the collars have an internal diameter of 42 mm and most of them have filled this and are pushing it apart the length of the pipe lagging is 18" I have started using Predators as they were starting to get thrip damage. Just hope they dont go to seed like last year.

On the Celery front I have plants at 3 different stages of growth,the biggest being the ones in the photo below .I am growing these inside as an experiment and all seems to be ok I am flooding the bed every day and it seems to be working

peas are now in final positions I am following in some of the other bloggers footsteps and growing Dorian as it is more resistant to mildew 

Parsnips are doing ok i have one bed with 50 plants and only need a pair for Harrogate 

Stump carrots are doing ok in both beds 100 plants in total sown in 2 stages a fortnight apart

Broccoli coming along nicely 

I also had some help with the watering 
Potatoes are now earthed up bags are full to the top I need to spray them against Blight as I keep getting warnings from Blightwatch about Smith periods high risk periods 

Garlic has now been lifted and it is the best I have ever grown 
Brassicas also doing ok 
The Giant sweede seeds that came from Dan have started to produce some reasonable sized ones
I have lost a couple of onions one to rot and another grew 2 necks also some of my shallots have gone double but apart from that no major disasters at this stage.

and finally we had the first proper picking of Strawberries and very nice they were 

Saturday, 2 June 2012

its been a long time been a long time a long long time

Sorry for not reporting sooner but I have been away working plus running the restaurant this post is for Smithy to find out how I am doing so here goes
large Onions are doing better than ever hope they keep going I intend to show the best 2 on my collection at Harrogate
I managed to get a free afternoon 3 weeks ago and planted up 70 bags of spuds in peat with some powdered Vitax q4 and some seaweed meal I planted 6 variety's and they are now showing through the peat I will be topping up the bags early next week
I also tidied up my Vento which were suffering from neglect I managed a card at Harrogate last year with this variety they had been left to their own devices till last week when I managed to support them 

Leeks are now in 32mm diameter collars which are 18" high  they  are  looking good  but did get a check  earlier in the year so I am still thinking they may go to seed but time will tell

Celery is now in its final position and also doing well

I have also being trying to perfect growing a giant potato using condor seed potatoes and Peter Glazebrooks method I first planted the seed potatoes in to compost then removed the shoots and planted them in pots.Today I removed the plants from the pots and removed all but one of the developing tubers.The plants were then planted in to a raised bed. Time will tell if it works

photos to follow

Giant onions are now starting to move they are about 4 weeks behind last year but considering they  finished growing a month before Harrogate I may still be on target for a big one 
Parsnips are also doing nicely 50 plants in total all to pick from come Harrogate so should get a nice pair

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Guess who

Dan sent me this the things you see when you have left your gun at home lol.